Businesses today are seeking new ways to automate and streamline every possible aspect of their operations. The internet has generated an explosion of self-service options from online ordering, product design and shipment tracking to recurring charge, payment and full service portals. This self-service functionality has extended out to the mobile environment as well.
As a merchant services provider we hear from our customers everyday about the demand for this type of accessibility. In this first of three article series we will explore the advantages of automating your credit card processing, discuss your options and offer some advice to save you time and money.
A bit of background
The introduction of ‘plastic’ credit cards in the early 1950’s was the first step in the merchant processing revolution. At the time just a few merchants offered a proprietary card to their customers that could only be used at their stores or locations such as Macy’s Department Stores or Mobil Gas Stations. The entire merchant processing industry has evolved dramatically since then and it’s important to know what options you now have to offer your customers.
Big companies only
As is common with software programs not all companies have equal access to the features and functionality of merchant processing. Traditionally the more custom or specialized features are not offered to small and mid-sized companies due to their low monthly transaction volume. The other barrier is implementation cost which puts the functionality out of reach for companies under the enterprise level. So access to one of the most advantageous technologies in merchant processing, vault or vaulting technology, had been limited to enterprise level merchants.
The advantages of a vault
Simply put a vault is a technology that securely stores a customer’s credit card information. This technology allows secure storage of the credit card data for use in recurring billing and eliminates the need for customers to re-enter their information when returning to your website for additional purchases. When the data is stored in a vault the specific card details are converted into a random series of characters referred to as a token to replace sensitive data with a unique identifier that cannot be mathematically reversed. This method satisfies the PCI Compliance requirements regarding storage of full credit card data. And compliance is one part of what makes recurring billing cost prohibitive to smaller companies.
Multiple applications for this technology
We thought the vault technology was too important to limit to big companies. So we developed our own version of the vaulting software that is scalable, customizable and affordable to any size business. In our next article we’ll go into more detail about your options that include 1) recurring same amount, 2) recurring variable amount, 3) hybrid self-directed payments and 4) CSR assisted. Can’t wait till next week to learn more? Give us a call today!